22 September 2011

The Jams

The Equinox, the official cosmic switch from Summer to Autumn, occurs tommorrow morning. Given the heat and dense humidity here in the Northeast, it seems only fitting we discuss hot jams from the Southern hemisphere.
Segio Mendes and Brasil '66...hot music from a hot place...the progenitors of the very category of music known as Brasilian jazz...hopping out of the wooden speakers by way of the needle, nothing does a cocktail party at home more justice...if only I could host one.

In keeping with the topic of a few posts ago, it takes a heavy dose of style to pull of a tux in a South American rain forest.

Sometimes when this band is mentioned, people snigger and make cracks about the waiting room of the dentist's office, the one with the Naugahyde(tm) couch and the plastic curtains. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Though similar on the merest technical level with all things associated with the general genre, and in spite of being discovered by Herb Alpert, Brasil '66 plays music that is all about a fire in the belly and well dressed grown-ups enjoying themselves like well dressed grown-ups.

If you don't believe me, take it up with Ms. Eartha Kitt...


...I dare you.

p.s. ear-rings
p.p.s pink French cuffs
p.p.p.s Gretsch drum kit
p.p.p.p.s. you don't get to wear a scraggly beard and nerdly hair cut until you come up with a Jam like this.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quincy Jones' "Big Band Bossa Nova" is another great cocktail party album. It has a similar feel to Brazil 66. And of course it features the Austin Powers theme...

Roger said...

Yes, "dentist's waiting room", "Muzak" or perhaps "lift music". The derision has many names.

Despite 'lounge music' having a bit of a renaissance a few years back I'm still mocked for listening to this. But nothing else really does work as sophisticated, lightweight music for a party. I like to play Esquivel, or George Shearing for that late 1950's atmosphere. Or maybe the Getz/Gilberto album on a balmy night when it spills onto the balcony.

Some Assembly Required said...

My dad did not have particularly adventurous musical tastes (he was mainly a Motown fan), but somehow he ended up with a couple of albums by these guys. I definitely remember the cover of the one with them standing in the forest. Cool stuff.

David V said...

dig those ear ring!

I bought that album new in '66 and had it till one weekend in '03. My son came home, with friends, from his freshman year at college.
They find this album and play it non-stop.I have not seen it since.

PonceManor said...

There's no better way to ring summer out than than some bossa nova, Apperol and soda, and the last wearing of the madras jacket for the season.

If I'm not mistaken, that's Lani Hall (Mrs Herb Alpert) on vocals, wearing the silver minidress (but not the ClickClack earrings, alas).

Young Fogey said...

I loves me some Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66--but I loves me some Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass more. Mr. Albert is an outstanding musician, and the Tijuana Brass music is joyful and happy.

I don't care for his post-Brass work, but that's because I'm not a jazz fan.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of the Unsupervised? They're an avant-jazz band I saw in Montreal; it was such a fun show. I think you'll enjoy them, but I don't know if you'll be able to get a hold of their music.

Anonymous said...

on this episode of Seinfeld, Newman and Kramer try to sell some of Jerry's old records in a shop in Greenwich village, which include Don Ho: Live At Honolulu, Jerry Vale Sings Italian Love Songs and some Sergio Mendes (all of which you probably scored in a church basement), and for the huge pile of vinyls, the discerning salesman, thinking they are total squares, offers 5$, to which Kramer responds: "Wait, wait, wait... Sergio Mendes has a cult following! That guy can't even go to the bathroom in South America!" always thought it was a funny line. totally made sense Kramer would being into that guy, with the 90s lounge revival and all... i do keep seeing his records in thrift shops, maybe i'll pick up one next time! thanks, G.

Luke said...

I have to say that by the standards of Brazilian music of that era, Sergio Mendes is a pretty bit player, and certainly a watered down take on the stuff coming out of the likes of Elis Regina, Joao Gilbert, Milton Nascimento, Ben Jorge, (who wrote mas que nada) and the legendary Elenco records. I highly reccommend fans check out Soul Jazz's Elenco compilation: Brazil Bossa Beat! for some rawer, wider ranging and satisfying Brazilian tunes (On LP of course!) :

http://www.souljazzrecords.co.uk/releases/?id=22385

Also great: tropicalia: panis et circus, Elis & Tom (1974), Clube Da Esquina 1, Joao Gilbert Agua De Marco